Most condylar process fractures can be managed conservatively with satisfactory outcome. However, unsuccessful treatment can result in malocclusion and facial asymmetry. We report our experience in surgical management of malunited condylar process fractures.
This is a retrospective review of clinical records, photographs, imaging, and dental models of 12 consecutive patients who presented with malocclusion and facial asymmetry after nonoperative or failed treatment of condylar process fractures. Eight patients who presented relatively early (<6 months) after the initial trauma were treated with subcondylar osteotomy (SCO), whereas 4 patients who presented relatively late (>18 months) were treated with sagittal split osteotomy (SSO). These 2 groups were compared in terms of 3 parameters, namely, maximum mouth opening, aesthetic improvement, and patient satisfaction.
The 2 groups were statistically similar in all 3 parameters, with the SCO group trending toward higher scores in all 3 parameters. The mean increase in maximal mouth opening in the SCO group was 21 versus 2.5 mm in the SSO group.
Subcondylar osteotomy, performed at a relatively early time point, is at least as effective, if not more effective, than traditional SSO in the treatment of subcondylar malunions. Given this finding, a lower threshold should be adopted for the primary treatment of acute subcondylar fractures with open reduction and internal fixation, especially those with moderate displacement that may be at high risk for malunion.